Rhodes is the biggest of the islands of the Dodecanese complex and one of the bigger islands of Greece. It is situated at the Southeastern Aegean, close enough to the Turkish coasts of Asia Minor, from which it is only some 11 nautical miles far away. The island of Rhodes is found at the crossroad of three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa. It is also found on the marine routes which connected West with Orient, since the early antiquity. Being such a meeting point, the island attracted various populations and was influenced by several cultures during its long history. Every people who arrived at Rhodes, peacefully or after winning a war, in mass or in small groups, have left their traces on the beautiful island. The result of this diversity has always ended up to this interesting blend that has proved very persistent and still exists today. Rhodes had always been – and still is – a place rich both in natural and in human resources.
The Town of Rhodes
The beautiful town of Rhodes, the capital town of the island and of the Dodecanese Prefecture, is situated at the northern end of the island. It is not only the wonderful monuments, the nice beaches and the excellent buildings that attract the visitor; everything here is very well organized, ready to make the life of all visitors, no matter their age or tastes, easier and more comfortable. With the medieval town in front of you, you will have the feeling that you live a medieval legend and you stay in a living museum.
The acropolis of Lindos
According to the myths, the acropolis of ancient Lindos is the birth place of the cult of a pre-hellenic deity, which later on became Athena Lindia (Minerva). In fact, the history of the sanctuary seems to begin in the Geometric period, during the 9th century b.C. Later on, in the Archaic period, the cult was revived, thanks to Cleobulus, the tyrant of Lindos, who had constructed a big temple, probably on the place of an earlier one.
The acropolis was surrounded by a strong wall, constructed during the Hellenistic times, at the same period as the Propylaea and the monumental staircase leading to the entrance of the acropolis. It is a carefully built ashlar construction with vertical and horizontal joints. Below this wall there are traces of the earlier one that probably existed before the Persian Wars. According to a Roman inscription, the wall and the square towers were repaired in the 2nd century A.D, at the expenses of P. Aelius Hagetor, the priest of Athena.
The scenic village of Monolithos is situated at a distance of 73 kilometers Southwestern to the town of Rhodes. It is a beautiful village, with some 350 permanent residents, with stone houses and small uphill streets, quite impressive for the visitors. It owes its name to the huge monolithic rock, where it has been built, at
Once in the village, don’t miss to visit the medieval castle, some 4 kilometers western to the village. Access to the castle is easy, via the 100 steps, carved in the rock. In Classical times the site had a «fryktoria» (a guardhouse, responsible to set a warning fire, in case of emergence). During the Knights’ domination, the castle was the refuge of the residents of the area, in case of pirates’ invasions.
Today you will see at the castle several blazons of the Knights’ period, and the small church of Aghios Panteleinmonas.
In the area around Archangelos it is worth visiting the Monastery dedicated to Virgin Mary (Nea Moni tis Panaghias). The Monastery is situated at Tsambika, at a distance of 4 kilometers far from the town of Archangelos. The name «Tsambika» is owed to the homonymous family of the place, connected in some way with the Monastery. According to the local tradition, Virgin Mary of this Monastery protects the childless women who dedicate to her small human figurines made of wax and they believe that she is also wonder-working. The floor of the church and the yard of the Monastery are nicely paved with pebbles, whereas the ceiling of the church is decorated with arches and hagiographies.
Colossus of Rhodes
The Colossus of Rhodes, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, was a construction of unique technical and artistic value.
After they had successfully resisted and repulsed the attack of the Macedonian general Demetrius Poliorkitis («the besieger»), in 305 b.C., the Rhodian people thought that their old god Helios (sun), had crucially contributed to their victory.
So, they decided to construct a unique statue, similar to which no one would have existed so far, and entrusted the construction to Chares, a sculptor from Lindos, student of the famous sculptor Lyssipos. It took more than twelve years to accomplish the work, which finished in circa 292 to 280 b.C. The sculpture was financed from the spoils obtained after the retreat of Demetrius. As ancient writers cite, the value of the spoils was more than 300 talents, a really colossal amount.
According to ancient sources the sculpture was higher than 32 meters and was erected somewhere in the port of the city of Rhodes (Mandraki), possibly at the entrance. The statue had its legs in either side of the mouth of the port and ships were passing under it. Based upon depictions of the statue on coins, modern scholars try to reconstruct a reliable image of it. The statue possibly held a torch or a sword in his hand.
The proud statue would not stand for a long time; in circa 224 b.C., due to a destructive earthquake, the statue snapped at the knees and fell over onto the land. The Rodhians considered the destruction as a divine sign and refuse to erect it anew. The parts of the glorious statue remained on earth for some 800 years. In 1635 Arab invadors, who pillaged the island, sold the pieces to Arab merchants as scrap. According to the legend, the merchant who bought it, an Arab from Edessa of Syria, had needed 900 camels to transport the statue. It is also said that for many years after, pieces of the statue continued to turn up for sale for years, after being found along the caravan route.
- To wander and feel like a knight of the Middle Ages, in the almost intact medieval town, which has been declared as a World Heritage Monument and is protected by UNESCO.
- To taste gorgeous sweets, influenced by oriental and Asia Minor cooking, in every place.
- To stroll around and loaf about the streets and the shops in the medieval town, where you may buy excellent souvenirs and folk art handicrafts.
- To visit the ruins of the famous ancient cities of Lindos, Ialyssos, Kamiros, as well as the antiquities found within the town of Rhodes.
- To visit the same villages that you have seen in the films of 1960s’ and 1970’, and find out that they haven’t changed that much since these times!
- To visit the unique place called Rodini, where you will think that you have been back in time, within a park of the Hellenistic period.
- To visit the Castle of Monolithos and enjoy the breathtaking view of the boundless sea, of Rhodes and the nearby islands.
- To go nice excursions to the neighboring islands of Chalki and Symi and visit the Monastery of Panormitis.